On Genre

From Anthony Giddens, "Problems of Action and Structure."

The Giddens Reader

"If interpretative sociologies are founded, as it were, upon an imperialism
of the subject, functionalism and structuralism propose an imperialism of the
social object. One of my principal ambitions in the formulation of structuration
theory is to put an end to each of these empire-building endeavours.  The
basic domain of study of the social sciences, according to the theory of
structuration, is neither the experience of the individual actor, not the
existence of any form of societal totality, but social practices ordered across
space and time" (89).

From Bakhtin, "The Problem of Speech Genres."

Speech Genres and Other Late Essays

"We speak only in definite speech genres, that is, all our utterances have
definite and relatively stable typical forms of construction of the whole" (78).

"If speech genres did not exist and we had not mastered them, if we had to
originate them during speech process and construct each utterance at will for
the first time, speech communication would be almost impossible" (79).

From Carolyn Miller, "Genre as Social Action" (1984):

"The genre classification I am advocating is, in effect, ethnomethodological:
it seeks to explicate the knowledge that practice creates.  This approach
insists that the ‘de facto’ genres, the types we have names for in everyday
language, tell us something theoretically important about discourse."

"As a recurrent, significant action, a genre embodies an aspect of cultural
rationality.  For the critic, genres can serve both as an index to cultural
patterns and as tools for exploring the achievements of particular speakers and
writers; for the student, genres serve as keys to understanding how to
participate in the actions of a community."

From Carolyn Miller, "Rhetorical Community: The Cultural Basis of Genre" (1994):

"The genre set represents a system of actions and interactions that have
specific social locations and functions as well as repeated or recurrent value
or function.  It adumbrates a relationship between material particulars,
instantiations of a genre in individual acts, and systems of value and
signification" (70).

From Anis Bawarshi,
Genre and the Invention of the Writer

"Guided by an understanding of writing as social activity, composition
scholarship has become less concerned with inquiring into generalizable
cognitive processes and more concerned with inquiring into the localized,
textured conditions in which cognition and social activities are organized" (5).

"As we write various texts, then, we rhetorically enact and reproduce the
desires that prompted them.  This recursive process is what genre is. 
And as we rhetorically enact and reproduce these desires, we also rhetorically
enact, reproduce, and potentially resist and/or transform the social activities,
the roles, and the relations that are embedded in these desires" (45).